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Hardball With Chris Matthews

News/Business. (2010) (CC)

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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2010)  (CC)  

    September 10, 2010
    12:00 - 1:00am EDT  

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meanwhile, there's lots to add to what you see on this show. we are very proud of our excellent blog at maddblog.msnbc.com. keeping up with the joneses. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off, dead deal. pastor terry jones says that he was lied to, that he had a promise by backers of that new york mosque that they would move the site. he said he feels that he was tricked and yes, lied to. after the new york imam said he would not let anyone toy with his religion. the evening's strange turns of truth began two hours ago when past tore jones said he wouldn't burn any korans this saturday because he had a deal with the people backing that mosque two blocks from the new york world trade centers not to build.
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>> the imam has agreed to move the mosque. we have agreed to cancel our event on saturday. and on saturday, i will be flying up there to meet with him. >> and then imam faisal raurvegs the backer of the new york mosque issued this statement "i am glad that pastor jones has decided not to burn any korans, however, i have not spoken to pastor jones or imam musry. we are not going to toy with our religion or any other, nor are we going to barter." then the imam who stood beside pastor jones confirmed no deal had been reached. we've got this story covered from all the angles. kerry sanders has been covering the story from gainesville, florida for nbc news. lawrence o'donnell is host of the last word. a great phrase for tonight's develop. you need a last word tonight.
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savannah guthrie covers the white house for nbc news and the co-host of the great show "the daily rundown." kerry, seeing as you're very close to the action here, how do you read the fact that this pastor standing to a local imam said they had a deal, within an hour it's clear they were wrong? >> it appears to me that the pastor did not dot his eyes and crossed his ts because it was very clear early on at that initial press conference that muhammad musry, the imam from central florida who was meeting with pastor jones did not say that we have spoken directly to and pastor jones says he was never there when a phone call was made. he said he feels he's been tricked, lied to, he's been hoodwinked. it was very clear from the first moments of that discussion, especially when imam muhammad musry from central florida began to speak that they were speaking a different language here, and then when we asked the pastor
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jones, okay, so you're not going to burn the korans here on saturday, you're going to go to new york, who are you meeting with, what time, where? didn't have any of those answers. it may also be this is his way to bow out. maybe this is how he can say there was confusion and he bows out. needless to say, the pressure has been intense. nbc has confirmed there was a phone call today from secretary of defense gates to the pastor. that was at around 4:00. and about an hour later is when he came out and made that announcement with all the world's eyes on this field in rural florida waiting to find out if and when he was going to announce that he was backing down. >> here's the latest word from pastor jones after his initial statement. apparently after hearing in the news that there is no deal with that new york imam. let's listen to pastor jones on his latest statement of what's going on. >> that the imam would move the
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mosque from ground zero. i was told he cannot move it tomorrow. i said that is fine. but it cannot be in ten years. these are the exact words that i said. the man said that is fine. i said now he has agreed to move the mosque. away from the ground zero area. yes, he has. that is what i would told. do i feel tricked? yes, of course. i don't feel tricked. i was lied to. of course, that's why at this time, i am not prepared to believe that. i am not prepared to make that accusation. i want to just wait waite and see and i'm right now, i am believing his word. i find it very hard to believe that he would lie to me. >> that's a hard thing to put together. we're used to dealing in objective facts. how do you get the facts from a guy, pastor jones who won't even say who this man is who he talked to? who is this man who may have tricked him? >> i take it was is the imam
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from central florida, muhammad musry he was meeting with. but i asked him, like who were you on the phone with? no names. look, doesn't it fit in many ways the way much of this has played out in terms of i had a very long interview with pastor jones and tried to get to some very specifics with him why he wanted to burn the koran. what specifically was in the koran that was most offensive to him. and he hadn't even read the koran. he basically admitted maybe he had looked at a page but primary what he said was there's no mention of jesus christ in the koran as the savior. anybody who understands religions understands that would not be in there in the same way it's not in the tora. i said are you going to start burning the tora, he said no. a lot of this has been very confusing in terms of why he said he was doing this and now maybe his confusion continues.
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>> one last question. when did you first hear him mention the mosque in new york as part of a deal or part of his concerns? i had two of those fellows on this week and they never brought it up. >> he never has talked about it in the time that i've been here that that had anything to do with this. i asked him again out here, i said where did this new york mosque become part of your reason to burn the korans here? >> he said well, i sent out an e-mail three weeks ago. i'm surprised you didn't get it. i don't know. it's the first we've heard of it. >> kerry sanders, thanks for that great reporting on a murky story down there in florida. i want to work my way down the clock here. lawrence, it seems like you were on to it instinctively. you smelled a rat. it took awhile for the pastor to know that he was in a confused state here at least. but what i'm going to hang on here is this decision to tie it to the mosque. there seems oftentimes in this battle with the middle east that everybody comes up with something. it's always the motive they think will sell that moment.
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you've got bin laden who all of a sudden has an interest in middle east peace talks. he may be mad at his father for what he did to him in terms of selling out their country but nothing to do with the middle east. he knows he can play that number. here he will is playing with that very touchy question in the united states, the mosque. i wonder whether he listened to boehner and palin today and they pushed the idea of this twinning up of these two difficult stories. >> you know he's not a very good thinker on his own about these things. he had plenty of time. plenty of time to find his way to that community center near ground zero over the last week or so. he didn't get there until john boehner and sarah palin laid out the road map for him. here's how to link this you know to what's going on in new york. so then in his wild imaginings, he came up with the idea that you know, he just made a deal. now, look, when i heard him say that live on this network that
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he just made a deal with the imam in new york, i knew i had read the imam's op-ed piece in the "new york times." i knew as the words were coming out of his mouth this was a lie from a charla tan that had not happened. you could not have read that "new york times" piece by the imam and think he was going to make a deal with the most ridiculous person are to step up to a microphone on this subject. it was obviously impossible from second one. >> well, you've got a talent for that for figuring out people's character flaws. and bs factors. good reading on the bs factor there. let's go right now to savannah guthrie. savannah, let's go to the official part of this story. secretary gates, that decision by the administration perhaps, was there any coordination in the last week among the top people who have spoken on this starting with the great general petraeus? when he put out the word this was endangering our troops, burning the koran on international television, that
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had a big development in the story. and then now, of course, secretary gates going. have they been coordinating with the president? >> today, certainly. with the white house anyway. senior level officials talking with secretary gates and deciding to go forward this afternoon with secretary gates placing a call to this pastor about 4:00. there will certainly was consultation between the white house and the pentagon on that and a decision made that the pentagon, secretary gates should take the lead because this is where the administration's best argument was lying saying that look, the troops are in danger if you go forward with this burning of the koran. as to the issue of general petraeus, i just got off the phone with a senior government official and asked, do you think in any way that will petraeus helped escalate this story by weighing in on it and saying earlier this week, look, if this guy in florida goes forward with this it's going to endanger troops lives, at that moment it lit a match to the story.
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this official said wait a minute, petraeus was asked this question. there already were stories out there, and we feel it was important to make it clear this really is a serious concern about the troops who are in harm's way who are in these very dangerous neighborhoods interfacing with people very closely. they were very concerned about it. so secretary gates today after they heard this pastor say nobody from the white house called me no, one from state or the pentagon, i think a lot of folks thought, is this somebody looking for a way out, looking for a lifeline. if this was the way to get him to stop, they felt, well, making the call was worth it. >> yeah, let's go to lawrence on that. here's a great question of intuition. my favorite question, maybe it's yours, who's in the room when a decision is made? who's on your life line. in this case, had he two forces coming at him. one the secretary of defense who's a nonpartisan public official, a holdover from the bush administration. top drawer guy in every way in terms of serving our country and
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probably the key to the whole chain of command in terms of our security in this country. he calls at 4:00. by 5:00, this guy has magically cut a deal with the imam in new york through a third party imam who he doesn't seem to trust now and is accusing him of lying and or tricking him. which was the most important phone call, the one through imam musry or the direct call from officials channels from the defense secretary? >> and or the visit he got from the fbi this morning. look -- >> what do you think that was about? would you think that was a spooky warning that we're he can checking into something but or what? >> it theoretically was about them presenting to him up what they think is evidence that there would be some kind of violent retaliation to his act. soap they don't do this because it could be inciteful. that would be the legitimate trip to make. the fbi should not be going in
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and saying, you know, we're going to start looking at you if you do this and they shouldn't be threatening people because of their possible exercises of the first amendment. but you know, the guy who came up to that microphone when we were first on the air, chris, was a guy trying to get out of this. he was making up a story to get himself out of this. he had painted himself into this corner and he was making up a story to get himself out of it. that's all i saw. now, what the next stage of his story is, i don't know. i think the big strategic problem here is we've now demonstrated that all you have to do to get all of the networks in front of your house with a camera and get the secretary of defense to call you and get the president and hillary clinton to talk about you and get foreign leaders to talk about you is simply say i'm going to burn a koran. this is a "south park" episode already. i'm going to burn a koran the world goes crazy around you.
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at the end of the episode, you burn the koran or you don't. you probably don't. >> one fly in that ointment. the man is armed, so is his partner pastor s&p. they are worried personally. they know they may not be out of the woods in terms of personal safety. this is not as easy as an episode in a tell advised program. if i were the reverend, i would probably stay concerned about the situation that the fbi warned him of today. great having you stay on. good luck with your fabulous new show "the last word." tonight's a story how these stories tend to develop throughout the evening. the show is called the run down. we'll have much more on the pastor's plan to call off his burning of the koran when we come back. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. ♪
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we're back. we've got good news tonight.
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the pastor down in florida says he's calling off his decision to burn the koran this coming saturday to commemorate the 9/11 tragedy and says he has a deal with the imam in new york to move the proposed mosque site away from ground zero. but the imam in new york says there is no deal. let's go back now to grains gainsville to imam muhammad musri of the islamic center. thank you so much for joining us. i don't know how this developed. give me a sense of how everything could get so confused in a matter of an hour and a half. >> thank you, chris, for having me. i believe that there's slight confusion as to what was agreed inside the church and what the pastor mentioned once the press conference took place. what i mentioned before going in as well as to the pastor inside that we only have a commitment for a meeting with imam abdul rauf in new york and that
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meeting is for me and pastor jones and imam abdul rauf to discuss that relocation. but it's conditioned on pastor jones canceling his planned event here on saturday. >> when you were standing next to pastor jones and heard him say there was a deal to move the islamic center further away from the world trade center, what did you feel? why didn't you interrupt him and say that's not the deal we have? >> i did not -- he emphasized that his understanding is the deal with me that i, because i stand for moving that project away from ground zero to a more ideal location, i told him my commitment to him, i was very clear to him and i reiterated that when i spoke in my part of the speech.
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>> but it doesn't seem like there was confusion. it sounds like you say you told him there was a meeting scheduled. and he is saying there was a deal made. you're saying different things. it doesn't sound like confusion. it sounds like have you different versions of what happened. >> yeah, he feels that if this deal, once we go to new york and meet with imam abdul rauf and if this deal happens now or a week from now or a month, a year, in his words, if it takes ten years to reach that deal, that is okay with him. >> i see. so it's faith-based? >> yes. >> he has faith, in other words, that a deal will be struck. he doesn't have a deal, but he has faith that a deal will be struck? >> precisely. he said i have nothing written on paper, but i have the word of this imam referring to me that
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we will go together to secure that deal from new york. but he and i are very clear that it is not in our hands. it is solely the decision of imam abdul rauf and his team in new york. >> do you believe knowing your own religious colleagues and confers and your own religious commitment, do you believe that the imam in new york, imam rauf, will make a decision to move the mosque or rather the islamic center under this kind of pressure, which looks like blackmail? religious blackmail, threatening to commit a sacrilege in order to get something to do something you want them to do. it sounds like religious extortion to me. >> i hope that the imam does not treat it that way. i myself feel there is plenty of room within our faith to compromise on a physical location for a mosque, but
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without compromising on the principle of establishing a center where people of different faiths could come together and work on peace building and work on bringing peace into our world. >> well, you know in my religious, catholicism, we study ethical questions in school all the time. do you see any ethical problem in getting someone to do something by threatening to burn the holy book of the koran? to use that as a way to get something-to-do something, is that morley okay for you? >> it is not okay. it's morally wrong for a religious person of any creed to use such extortion to try to force the hand of other people to give up their rights. however, i feel that pastor
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jones here needed to come out a winner of this. >> i see. >> -- dilemma that he was in. >> so you gave him an escape route? >> i gave him the hope and the possibility of achieving something measurable that he can claim as a win, but that is a promise to work on it, not a sign and sealed and delivered promise. >> okay. you strike me as a very honest man, sir. thank you so much for clearing this up. the reverend terry jones believes that somehow he can achieve through faith and hard work a compromise to move that mosque, that islamic center down the road maybe over ten years but there's no deal to automatically do it. thank you so much, imam muhammad musri. we'll have much more on the decision by pastor terry jones to cancel his koran. i do think it was extortion and how the obama administration played a part in this perhaps
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through the call of secretary gates. it seemed to have trigger this had action. this look for a way out. the way out was this promise of a meeting in new york. no more. you're watching "hardball" only ♪ [ female announcer ] when you have a softer bath tissue, you can enjoy going more... while still using less. introducing new charmin ultra soft. new charmin ultra soft has an ultra-cushiony design that's soft and more absorbent. so you can use four times less versus the leading value brand. [ both ] ♪ soft to the touch... [ female announcer ] using less never felt so good. new charmin ultra soft. enjoy the go.
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we are, of course, now against any other group burning korans. obviously. we have accomplished our goal. we have accomplished what we feel god wants us to do. we would right now ask no one to burn korans. we are very very strong on that. as strong as we were that we should burn korans. now is not the time to do it. >> why was for burning korans before i was against it. terry jones after his initial statement. steve mcmahon joins us along with steve fearry. john, your thoughts about this. i have been very concerned that
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the pastor is not the most original sort of person. he heard some things during the day that gave him license. he said wait a minute, there's a connection to the mosque. i've heard boehner and sarah palin talk about it. both twinning together these two issues pairing them up, as morally equivalent. all of a sudden, he says wait a minute, they move the mosque. i won't burn the koran. i don't think he won the creative writing award. i think he got this idea from somebody else. your thoughts? >> chris, i think that the idea of giving the pastor jones this kind of platform is actually quite stunning to me. i think that this is -- this guy who has a congregation of about 30 seems to be having overinfluence on our international foreign policy and our domestic policy. and it really just puzzles me to no end. >> if you were general petraeus would you have not issued this statement that this guy is a danger to our troops, the prime
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minister minister of iraq, this is going to cause an east/west problem, would you have not said what those men said? >> i think the best thing to do is what they do sometimes when the taliban takes a hostage. that is, don't say a word. don't make this a bigger deal than it needs to be. have a conspiracy of silence with the media and don't give this story any oxygen. i hope we learn this lesson from this guy. to give this kind of guy this kind of platform in our democracy is really stunning. >> when they put -- steve, when they put our you travelers around the world on alert, when the word goes out, it's not safe to travel over this issue, when you have the leader of our troops, the most respected military man in the country over there saying it's a danger to troops, these are realities. i've watched this guy. pastor jones and his colleague pastor s&p. we've tried to negotiate with them or not negotiate trying to find out who would tell them to shut up.
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>> he's basically a 65-year-old version after underwear bomber. there was not going to be a conspiracy between the media. >> we don't regularly meet with roger ailes and decide which stories to croak. >> it was a news worthy story and made more news worthy by what malaki and petraeus said over the weekend. it required a i response by the president. when george stephanopoulos asked the question you knew was going to be asked. he was there to talk about lis speech in cleveland yesterday but george asked the question. the president answered it and pretty soon the race was on. that's why the fbi was there today i'm sure, why secretary gates made the call because once the president starts to apply pressure, you don't want the president not to be successful. >> a good point you raise, john. in a world that's almost like, to use an old reference, an old pin ball machine where you put one ball in the machine and all the lights go on and all the bells ring, it's hard to say i'm not going to pay attention to that pin ball. it's going around making the lights go on.
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you can say my light won't go on but other things will. when this thing bops around the islamic world that there's a christian minister threat fling to burn their holy book, they feel they have been abused by the west, they have been exploited for their oil. we sided with israel. they have a lot of grievances against us. adding insult to injury is not something they would have ignored if we had stayed quiet about it. your thoughts? >> i understand the point. i also understand why gates and i think gates made the right decision to call because obviously it worked. i think that's why jones decided not to burn the koran. but -- >> so you think that 4:00 call was something we should have done? >> i think eventually. he had no choice. i think when geoff morrell said this is coming, this is why we're doing it, he had to do that too. >> who is geoff morrell? >> he's the spokesman for the
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d.o.d. >> okay. >> and i would say that -- he's a good guy, by the way. i would say that but from a lessen that we can all learn here is we cannot have our foreign policy so impacted by someone who has a congregation of 30 who is going to do something crazy. if we do that, we are in big trouble as a nation if we're so fragile. from a media standpoint, if we go to every crazy story. there is responsibility from the media. they have to learn from this lesson and not making this terry jones the media star that he's become. >> but john, this became like abbroou bu gray, symbolic of something that was festering in the muslim anise lammic world for a long time. and will continue to fester. it became symbolic of something much bigger than somebody who was perhaps a little less than imagine native and had a very small congregation. he went out there. the media gave him attention. petraeus and others helped
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contribute to that. it's not eight -- it's not something that's not predictable that when all those things converge you're going to have this kind of coverage. thank goodness it got walked back. i happen to believe it could have been something that impacted a truce and something that impacted our relationships. >> let me go back to john on this. we saw in denmark where a cartoonist could cause a stir. we saw a movie producer, movie director killed over there over a film. we see how the islamic world is so sensitive that they will track down someone anywhere in the world who causes a sacrilege to their religion and very sensitive about it. you have to live with that sensitivity. you can say we're not going to pay attention to that sensitivity, but darn it, if they are sensitive, you've got to know about it. >> i appreciate that. the person who said -- made the most sense on this was mayor bloomberg who said, i don't agree with this.
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i think it's stupid and idiotic. and once i defend jones' right to do it. that's the larger lesson is that there are going to be some.times when people are going to say things that are negative towards islam, and you know, the islamic world can't go crazy every time that happens. that's the other part of this, that we have to be very careful how we react to these things so we don't overemphasize that. >> i agree. i guess we're going to have to decide in this country we can't keep somebody has a right to do something. it sounds like hab you're saying they have a rightfulness to do it, there's somehow a moral claim they're making simply because it's legal. the american nazis used to mark through skokie, a jewish neighborhood in illinois. they have a right. but you know that neighborhood. >> i would say that's kind of like you don't have the right to yell fire in a movie theater. >> i think this was close to that because if we know travelers are being warned,
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troops are being warned that there's a real threat level and rocks being thrown at people already in kabul on notion this is going to happen, we know there's an incitement factor here, i think i could argue, i'm not an attorney but i could go into court and say this is as close to really yelling fire as you can think of because all logic tells us people will die because of this burning. >> i actually am an attorney. i try not to play one in on television. it is as close to fire in a theater because of the danger it pos an immediate threat to the troops. it's vet very far away from the mosque in new york city which is what the republicans are trying to do here. i think it's a very sinister. >> i don't think that's right, steve. >> just one second, john. because boehner did the sort of equivalency and sarah palin has done the equivalency. it was their suggestion that perhaps he not do this if the imam in new york city agrees not to build the mosque. and so they were the ones who link it had first as far as i know. and as far as any news organization knows.
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>> let him respond. >> john, you think it's unfair to show they played an accessory role here? >> i think it's unfair. if you talk to boehner, i guarantee he was not making thatquiv lens. what he was saying this morning on "good morning america" was that you have a right to burn these korans, vutd right to have this mosque here. 75% of the american people are against building the mosque near the 9/11. 99.9% of the american people or more are against burning the koran. >> the idea of moralquiv lens is ridiculous. people want to build a mosque, argue about it right or wrong. somebody who wants to burn the koran, there's only one reason to do it and it's a bad one. thank you. sarah palin doesn't agree with us on that. she thinks it's equal. thank you fearry, a good republican. a good democrat. >> irishman. >> that's probably why you're a good guy. back with more on pastor jones in florida who apparently canceled his koran-burning event on the promise, i think it was the faith that the mosque center
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near ground zero will be moved somewhere in the next ten years. it was faith based. i think he was overstating his claim when he spoke to the press at 5:00. the new york mosque says it has no plans to move and it won't negotiate. we'll get the latest from new york when we return. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] take an italian masterpiece home. excuse me. buitoni? [ male announcer ] buitoni wild mushroom agnolotti. simple ingredients, artfully prepared. buitoni. create an italian masterpiece. in the refrigerated section. [ tires screech ] [ engine revving ] [ drums playing ] [ male announcer ] 306 horsepower. race-inspired paddle shifters. and f-sport-tuned suspension. all available on the new 2011 lexus is.
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here's what's happening. a massive explosion sent flames tearing through a residential neighborhood south of san francisco. at least 6 more people are injured. dozens of homes burned to the ground. a broken natural gas line is to blame. a woman is in police custody
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after shooting three people at a kraft foods factory in northern philadelphia. in texas, at least four deaths are blamed on flooding caused by tropical storm her mean. boulder residents have been told to prepare for evacuations if the wind pushes it toward the city. ni the military's don't ask don't tell policy is ruled unconstitutional and a nationwide injunction new video tonight of u.s. on its use moornz storming a civilian ship taken over by pilots in the gulf of aden. nine pirates were taken into cussed to. now back to "hardball." we're back. pastor terry jones of florida has canceled his plan to burn core tlanz saturday on the faith that that proposed mosque be would be moved.
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new york's mike tie i be by is now with us from outside the proposed mosque. we've been working this story. i think we got somewhere. imam musri said, he was the guy standing next to terry jones, he said basically the reverend was talking about faith, that sometime during the course of talks with the people building the world trade center mosque, that maybe they'll change their mind over perhaps ten years. your news on that subject. >> it's kind of sugar coating it a little bit. pastor jones said unquivly we have a deal. this is going to happen. i'm going to go to new york. he later said he was lied to. if for whatever reason pastor jones has now made a permanent decision he's not going to have a bonfire of korans on saturdays that situation in gainesville, florida, and the images it would have created is defused. however, that doesn't defuse the situation here. even though there's not a equivalency between the two events burning korans and building a mosque from ground
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zero, both those events percolated in the same media universe. they were trumped up and became huge international stories. this one remains a story like that. we spoke on the way down here with the organizers of the two competing rallies and pro testifies that are scheduled for saturday, 9/11, the ninth anniversary of the solemn and horrible event in american history. both of them seemed eager to cancel their protests, their demonstrations if there was a deal. if there wasn't a deal, the protests go on. one of them is organized by people organized against bigotry and racism. they expect to have thousands of people here after 3:00 on saturday. the other one is organized by the atlas shrugged website owner. she's the one who frame this had story for the way it's now seen by thousands of people and a plurality in this country as an islamist victory on ground zero.
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it's not on ground zero. it's not established with the stated purpose of being a victory mosque. it's in fact, a cultural center that would have rooms to accommodate all religions. et cetera, et cetera, according to imam. the protests will continue. this story is not defused yet no matter what happens in florida. >> here's a big problem. suppose the word goes around the world the reason this guy's not urn burning the holy book of islam is because there was a secret deal cut to kill the mosque. >> well, there was a secret deal cut. they're all bad stories but we've learned as this new media has developed into the entity that it is, chris, it doesn't take much. it was two-thirds of a second of george allen using the word macaca on cell phone video that ended the presidential aspirations of a legitimate candidate. it doesn't take much this day and age, a couple of cartoons. >> do you see what went behind you?
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we're watching the terry jones story down in florida. that's crazy enough or dangerous enough. and bewee got the truther guy walking past him in the past to try to exploit a cookie story with a cookyer story. now we have you with some jesus is going to bring down whatever justice on somebody there using an excuse of you talking to a camera. >> yeah, they've been passing by here all day long, doing it all week long. there's a guy who had a pretty effective painting of somebody pouring salt in the wound. that's the theme of the protesters those people objecting to the cultural center and the mosque. >> what do we expect on saturdays is going to come of this defusion? >> you know, i think it could be ugly. i've listened to what pam yeller had said. i have read the blog. the woman who had the mock-up of supreme court justice elena kagan in a nazi uniform, she attacks obama every day, says
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his mother was involved in pornography. all of these crazy things and yet, she's invited on to newscasts as an expert on the cultural center and mosque to talk about it it could be very ugly. the signs have been ugly here. a lot of ugly things have been said leading up to this. who knows what's going to happen on saturday but i don't think it's going to be just a story about 9/11. >> we have new word from down in florida, the associate pastor wayne s&p who was on this program says the koran burning event is not canceled. only temporarily suspended until they can confirm the meeting with the new york imam. we'll continue to watch this story as it develops. mike, what do you make of that? now we have the possibility they're not going to meet. i think they'll meet at least. if they don't meet, they're going to go burn the korans again. >> i think you're right. it's an astounding story and the equivalency of the bonfire of the vanities is true. one event met tas ta sizes into
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something huge if they put this back on, who knows what will happen. those images we know will have consequences. >> i think you're thinking hard on this. thanks so much, mike tie i be by in new york. we'll talk politics and whether haets it's smart for president obama to go after john boehner by name. he's now let him off free and now he's decided it's time to stop letting him off free going after boehner and mitch mcconnell. is it smart to target your enemy so personally? back in a minute. did you know - after age forty, your body can lose up to eight percent of muscle per decade? try... each serving provides twenty-six vitamins and minerals. plus it has fifteen grams of protein to help maintain muscle. compare it to the leading competitor. boost high protein also has calcilock blend, with calcium and vitamin d to help maintain strong bones. get complete, balanced nutrition so you can stay active. try boost high protein. also available in powder.
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about this "dedicated claims rep" thing. okay, well... calling yourselves "dedicated"? we're all dedicated, okay? the entire website team worked late every night this week. look at sanjeev. he's a mess! what? no... guys, we're called dedicated claims reps because we each stay with an esurance customer throughout the automobile claims process. it's not because we think we work harder than you. well, you don't. [ sanjeev ] am i a mess? [ joey ] you slept in the vending machine... [ male announcer ] want a great deal on car insurance? go to esurance. welcome back to "hardball." president obama had one name on his mind in ohio yesterday.
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did you catch it? let's listen. >> mr. boehner and the republicans in congress said no to these projects. mr. boehner has so far said no to infrastructure. so let me be clear to mr. boehner and everybody else, we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer. when these same republicans including mr. boehner were in charge, the number of earmarks and pet projects went up, not down. >> is this a smart strategy for the president and his party? thank you. steve, first and then josh. is this smart to give a name to his pain? >> sure. i'm not sure there's that much that democrats and obama can do to salvage this election. if you look at one of their sort of fundamental missions for the next few months is really to fire up the democratic base.
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if you can increase the democratic turnout from where it is projected to be right now, there's a chance they could survive in these marginal districts where otherwise they lose. if you make this a fight between barack obama on one hand and john boehner on the other hand and what obama tried to do and republicans haven't done for the last two years, that message resonates from the democratic base. it upsets republicans to hear it but republicans are the most motivated segment of the electorate right now. maybe you can get some more excitement going on the democratic side. at this point they have nothing left to lose i think. >> i wonder how you can excite anyone with the name john boehner. he's the dullest and dan aykroyd could play him on an off night. he looks like he made a bad put on the golf course. he doesn't look like the enemy
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of the people. your thoughts? >> i think what the white house is trying to do is they've come a long way from 2008 when the strategy was all about hope and they're trying to make it about fear and fearing the republicans and what republicans are going to do. i'm sure that boehner is the perfect boogie man. >> why not go after the whackier people like michelle bachmann or sharron angle or tea partiers out there that are far more colorful as bad guys. >> then the president would be accused of highlighting people on the fringe of the party. part of this message is supposed to be that john boehner could be the speaker if the election doesn't go well. it wasn't an accident when white house press secretary robert gibbs weeks ago said the house might fall into republican hands. i think we were seeing the beginning of this strategy of trying to scare people about what could happen in november since the white house has given up on giving people any hope that they can fix the problem. >> here's what we know, steve and josh.
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we know the strategy leaked out what they're up to. it was in politico today. if the republicans get back the speakers gavel they want to defunding or starving the health care plan that barack obama passed historically this year make it not happen by taking money away from the program and taking away stimulus money they get their hands on and beginning massive probes on every front of everything that might embarrass this situation. that seems like a fairly negative program. your thoughts, steve? >> everything looks different if the republicans do take back congress and are empowered next year. right now the republicans are just a catch all party for everybody out there who has any doubts, any reservations and any anxiety about the correction the country is going. there's a lot of anxiety right now. if republicans actually control the legislative branch of government and they send things to the president's desk, that changes it completely.
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the obvious parallel we talked about before is to 1995 and last time you had that setup and republicans thought that the '94 mid terms when they gained more than 50 seats in the house was the great mandate to take on bill clinton and suddenly they looked extreme to people. >> this whole agenda seems debbie downer, doesn't it? >> you have this dualism out there in the country. i think it's a situation where we would face even greater gridlock than we've seen over the last year and a half. the american people, even individuals i think, are both frustrated with gridlock and scared about some of the things the government has done and i think maybe the white house feels like somehow with a hail mary pass here they can break through that message by scaring people that there would be even more gridlock and just a recipe for nothing to be done on the economic front. >> i'll come back in a minute and cheer on the president. i think his strategy is about time. the chicago strategy of ignoring the enemy only works in chicago where there is no republican party. there is one in washington.
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man: yeah, i'm thinking maybe this was a bad idea.
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let me finish with a salute to the new obama political strategy. the president avoided attacks on republicans for two years. promised to stay above the pettier forms of partisan politics and he stuck to it. there was strategy behind his approach.
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senator mitch mcconnell and senator john boehner is the old chicago method. you act like democrats are the only party of government and you mock the activists and others as trouble makers mouthing off and don't give republican leaders time of day. you figure out by not mentioning their names you diminish their stature to making them invisible. that strategy didn't work. it gave coverage to the boehners and mcconnells of this world as they went about obstructing everything obama did or tried to do. people like senator mcconnell and congressman boehner didn't take scar tissue for their behavior, their endless efforts to kill the president's program. this changed yesterday. that's a good thing. by giving a name for the public's pain, president obama demanded basic accountability. does anyone listening think mitch mcconnell should be elevated to senate majority leader or john boehner deserves to be speaker of the house? what for? by jamming the democrats,